Year 1 Blog

Welcome to the blog for our Year 1 classes. The year group blogs are a great communication tool. Teachers will be posting news, photographs, details of homework, examples of work, and anything they wish to share with their pupils and parents. Please speak to your class teacher if you have any question, feedback or concerns.

Mrs Gibbons

Green Class Teacher

Mrs De Vynck

Purple Class Teacher

We have two year 1 classes. Children in these classes are developing their skills and building on the learning from Foundation Stage. When the children are ready, usually by October half term, the learning becomes based on the Key Stage One National Curriculum Programmes of Study. We still believe that children learn best when the ‘subjects’ are linked in a meaningful way and then basic skills are taught for a real purpose. We encourage the children to take ownership of their learning, ask questions and have a say in the planning process. We hope to motivate all children by taking account of their needs, strengths and interests and provide rich experiences and learning opportunities which will continue to excite them.

Characters, Clay and Shape in Green Class

Everyone in Green Class looked fantastic on the last day of half-term. The costumes gave us lots to write about, with the opportunity to write about the clothes and colours the children were wearing. Lots of children included ? and !, reflecting a great approach to following the steps to success and having a go at something we will practise more as the year progresses.

We have been following up our learning from Highfield by talking about how to identify leaves, and distinguish them from each other. On Friday we concentrated on oak, beech and holly, all of which we saw on our walk on Monday. The children have learnt that leaves have veins; and that a beech leaf has a simple shape, a holly has points and an oak leaf is lobed. They used clay to make the different leaves, using the tools to make the shapes and, hopefully, by creating the shapes, will remember the terms and types of leaves well. I’m sorry there is only one photo of the clay-making: I was hoping to have more.

We focussed on 2D shapes at the end of this half-term and will do some more when we return. Over the half-term you could see which shapes your children can spot when the are out and about. The key skill is to know how many sides the different shapes have. Extension can be if one window has 4 straight sides, how many sides would 2, 3 or 4 windows have?

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Highfield Walk

We all had an interesting, exciting trip to Highfield Park today. Our learning aims included learning to identify trees from their leaves and berries/nuts; and finding signs of autumn. Thanks to all the lovely parent volunteers who came, the children were in small groups which makes the experience more productive for the children. They all followed the instructions and safety rules very well and Green Class has a wonderful collection of “autumnal nature” to sort and label over the next couple of days.

At Highfield the children did 4 activties:

go round the maze

make leaf and bark rubbings

find specific trees, on a spotter’s list

collect interesting, autumnal objects

There was some great teamwork, with one group making a bird from things they collected. The maze is much more of a maze than some of us remember from a few years ago. Can the children remember what is it made from? We saw red, black and purple berries, ivy, holly, a big patch of fungus, apples and pears – rotten and not – on and off trees. It was difficult to find many acorns at some oak trees – due to a disease which is restricting the number of acorns this year? – and the children found sweet chestnuts, as distinct from horse chestnuts.

Thank you again to the helpers who gave up their morning, also at the awkward time of half ten. The children have started speaking and listening, using photos from the trip, as preparation for writing a recount. I think we will all sleep well tonight – I speak for myself,  at least!

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Also, we still have our autumn table, if anyone has anything interesting to add to it.

Equals and Autumn

In Maths the children learnt about what equals means – ie the same as, totals, balances. To understand this more deeply, they used balance scales and Numicon tiles (which are properly weighted according to value). The children chose their challenges  – to balance either a 5-tile, 10-tile or 12-tile (made from and 10 and 2 sellotaped together!) with 2 other tiles. Some children chose to balance the total tile with 3 or more tiles, which showed great understanding. The scales also help the children understand that number sentences, like equations, can be written either way round – eg 2 +8 = 10 is the same, and as valid, as 10=8+2. This inverting of Maths is an important area of conceptual understanding for year 1 and something we will be revisiting and building on over the year. The children make a good start to creating a list of bonds to 10. They will not be learning number bonds by rote, but by different practical tasks which, over time, will start to come naturally.

We have been talking a lot about autumn, the signs and why it happens. The children drew pictures of what autumn means to them. We have shared books, watched some short videos, explored our school grounds and talked about what else we know of autumn. It would be really useful to build your children’s knowledge of this by discussing how the natural world is changing – eg by noticing at which time it gets dark every day. Our autumn table has a few things on it and it would be lovely to see some more, varied contributions. I’m uploading a few pictures from on of the books we have shared. These pages give a flavour of the learning behind what makes autumn – the tilt of the earth determines how much each part of the earth receives, depending on the time of year.

We have been practising our class performance for next Wednesday’s harvest at school, at 2.30. The children work well together as a team and everyone has been remembering their words well.

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Democracy Day

As part of Hertfordshire Local Democracy Week, we have talked to the children about democracy and what it means. We had a visitor today, Sandy Walkington from a local party, who talked to the children about the role he plays as a local councillor. This afternoon the children are going to take part in our own poll to vote on their choice of non uniform for the 23rd October. We have made our own polling station, with booths, our own ballot papers and a ballot box. We will let you know the results once all the votes have been counted by our school councillors.

Last week in Green Class

In Maths the children have been learning about taking-away. We have a focus for the week and concentrate on building up the skills and understanding as the week progresses, while also introducing useful resources and practising with them until the children are confident. The aim is for  children to naturally choose their own resources, or manipulatives, according to the task and what they think most suitable and useful. The key language in taking away includes fewer, less, group gets smaller, the answer is less than the first amount. We frequently look at sums or statements and ask “Could that be right?” or “What has gone wrong there?” The  next crucial question is “How do you know?” or “Show me (how you know that)” ( the precursor to “Prove it to me.”)

We were all very excited and proud on Friday morning because the children wrote their first poems. Writing poetry, with the specific poetry layout, can be tricky, especially as it goes against the rules we are working so hard to establish – eg “Write to the end of the line”, “Use a full-stop after every sentence”! The children were writing about autumn, using their senses for ideas to explain what happens at this time of year. The poem is a good example of cross-curricular learning – practising an English skill, but also using the knowledge acquired during Science learning. Throughout the year, we will be talking about the tilt of the earth and the impact this has on seasons.

On Friday every class enjoyed a half-hour session with “Perform”, a drama group. Green Class had a wonderful time, preventing the witch and dragon get Excalibur, King Arthur’s sword.

Some children put into practice the colour mixing skills they have been learning with Mrs Reed, but “taking their pencil for a walk” to make swirly patterns which they then filled in with paints based on a secondary colour, also lightened and darkened with white and black paint. The children are practising their independent skills in many areas, such as preparing the making table for use by themselves.

I have updated bug club books, so the colour band should be the same as the one they choose their reading books from. If you have any queries about logging on or the titles your child has been given please let me know.

The letter about our walk to Highfield went out on Friday! If the weather is awful that day then we will simply do the walk another day, which is one of the advantages of going somewhere so close. If you are able to come and accompany the children, we would be very grateful. The year 1 trip is just one day before the year 4 trip (we moved it so there wasn’t a direct clash), but we really want to go before half-term.

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Purple Class Autumn.

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Welcome to the Purple Class blog!

We have had a fantstic start to the school year with lots of learning in all areas. In Maths we have been using Dienes and Numicon to start to add and take away-the children have engaged very well using this maths Manipulatives and have produced some great work!

We have been discussing the school grounds (as above) and we are starting to make our own maps and 3D models of these. In this instance, lego went down a treat as a learning resource with the children!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and speak to you all again soon.

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